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When to pursue workers' comp and a personal injury lawsuit

You may already know that getting into an accident on the job makes you eligible for filing a workers' compensation claim, even if you were responsible. You may also know that sustaining an injury in other areas of life, such as a motor vehicle accident, may warrant a personal injury lawsuit. But did you know that in some cases you can pursue both?

The two situations may not seem related to each other, but when third parties are involved in a workplace accident, two avenues of financial compensation become available to you. Here is how this is possible.

What are examples of third-party claims?

More people may be involved in an accident at work than just your employer. Other responsible parties may include the following:

  • The manufacturer of defective equipment you use at work
  • Another motorist who crashes into you while driving on the clock
  • A negligent subcontractor you work with at a construction site
  • A colleague who assaults you
  • The owner of an animal that attacks you

Because the incident happens while you are working, you can claim workers' comp, and because the incident involves parties outside your place of employment, you can also sue those who contributed to the accident.

What happens to the money you receive?

While it may seem as if you will get twice the compensation, that is not exactly true. Workers' compensation is able to put a lien on whatever money you win in a personal injury lawsuit. That means that the program will use the awards to reimburse itself for its payments to you, and you only get what is left over.

However, your attorney may be able to negotiate a lower lien amount or eliminate it altogether. Another tactic is to pursue as much recovery as possible, as well as other monetary sources such as insurance policies, to ensure you have plenty of money left for you to use on all the financial consequences of your injury. 

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